Since the first performance of the first opera in 1600, operas have been telling stories from myth and history. This book - beginning with the Creation and ending in the present day - is a chronology of myth and history as told in opera. Over 260 paintings and photographs, most in colour, accompany the narrative.
Why were particular myths and historical events important at particular times? Why were the same myths and historical events told in radically different ways? In seeking answers to these questions, this book charts how the modern West migrated from autocracy towards liberal democracy, from theocratic absolutism towards tolerant pluralism, from sexism towards gender equality. It traces growing scepticism about religiously inspired warfare and colonial empire building.
Unlike anything previously published, this is a book for lovers of history and the arts, and for anyone interested in how the western world of today came into being. By exploring a bewitchingly beautiful art form, it chronicles a sequence of extraordinary transformations: the political, religious and social revolutions that created the modern West.